The art form of storytelling has been around since the beginning of time itself, ever since homo sapiens were huddled in a circle and discovered fire 1.7 million years ago. While this traditional form of storytelling has experienced a decline as evolution has taken place, the truth of the matter is that humans still love a good story and the ability to consume content viscerally and intelligently with audience participation.
A fellow Irishman and global literary figure Oscar Wilde once claimed in his 1889 essay 'The Decay of Lying' that 'art imitates life more than life imitates art', I believe that in storytelling, technology can now imitate both. Marketers as a new breed of storytellers in our generation are finding new methods and objects to express the human condition in compelling and powerful ways.
New technologies often don't replace an art form but augment it to empower creative people and artists to innovate because at their core this is what creative people love to do.
In the creative advertising world, we are at a point where user data, AI, automation and creative talent are converging to build a perfect storm of new storytelling for marketers where human talent is as crucial as ever before.
Marketing as Storytelling
At its very core for brand and performance marketers alike, marketing is all about storytelling – successful marketers are those who can build a compelling narrative around their brand or business that builds emotional resonance with their audience.
Conversely as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat have developed rapidly; offering distinct audience choice, differentiated user behaviour and unique environments to engage in compelling storytelling, the creative advertising process now involves more complexity with each platform investing in proprietary media to create unique media value.
The established landscape is also being disrupted, TV which was traditionally the medium of choice for bringing the romance and emotion of storytelling to life was for the first time in Europe overtaken by digital in 2016 as brand and video dollars migrated rapidly to mobile as a channel.
In fact, by 2020 there will be a 13 x growth in video where 75% of all mobile data traffic will be video-first which will logically nurture a similar trend in Europe with continued migration of advertising budgets to mobile. Mobile and video continue to be key drivers of the online ad market in Europe representing 42% of the total display pie and in excess of 50% in more mature markets like the UK.
A Shifting Landscape
Creative advertising strategy and development is widely cited as a major priority for CMOs in 2017 because consumers continue to be exposed to advertising over 5,000 times a day. Marketers will need to invest in creative advertising strategies that evoke 'stopping power' with 'creative density' to break through the noise and the clutter.
Moreover, the rapid development of mobile and movement towards video presents marketers with a real challenge in how they can ensure video-based storytelling via sight, sound and motion is effective with consumers’ bias to short-form consumption in an environment with multiple choices and a reduced attention span.
There is additional complexity in the advertising landscape where smartphone penetration is slowing in Europe and for the first time in 2016 experienced only 3% YoY growth – lack of supply and increased demand is a forcing function for marketers to introspect and focus on maximising the value and strength of their media investments.
Marketers Set The Rules
It is definitely a buyer’s market with major marketers like Gabe Leydon at Machine Zone and Marc Pritchard at P&G insisting on greater standards for the use of first party data, buying models, viewability, measurement and of course transparency.
This is inherently positive as it means media is finally on course to be quantified and optimised appropriately, an area where this is hugely beneficial for marketers is at the intersection of creative and technology.
Creative is one of the highest points of leverage in overall media performance while ad fatigue is a huge pain point for marketers with very manual methods of addressing this – a one-size fits all approach to creative advertising in an age of robust segmentation and targeting is a quick-fire route to failure. This is where the employment of Artificial Intelligence comes into its own.
True AI in Creative
True AI at the intersection of technology and creative means marketers can be empowered via algorithms that have the ability to proactively learn from data patterns, source invisible relationships between variables between a sea of parameters and predict the outcomes at scale.
Practically speaking in creative advertising this means marketers can automate optimisation of live performance data at campaign level using ad creative as the biggest lever creating intelligent and incremental efficiencies upon each ad sequence to improve prediction and reach desired objectives in a fully automated rules-informed solution directly integrated with ad-serving to boost overall ROI and ROE.
ReFUEL4’s AI and proprietary SAAS technology acts as a guide to marketers and agencies carrying out tasks of strategic planner and creative director optimising against millions of parameters in real-time leveraging the creative assets of ReFUEL4's 10,000 human designers hypercharged with AI on a pay for performance model for desired brand and performance objectives.
In Europe as brands follow the lead of performance marketers embracing always-on marketing, the focus on creative storytelling via personalised, evocative, video-first creative using scalable, sustained, data-driven methodologies to optimise media spend is where ReFUEL4 can help both brands and performance marketers in building a market-beating creative strategy. Check out some of our case studies with leading companies like Elex, Spotify and Game Insight .
In joining ReFUEL4, this is what excites me most! Our award winning technology and team is focused on enabling and empowering human talent with artificial intelligence and automation to tell new stories in immersive ways with greater insights to become great storytellers.